Superstition: Young curators of the Roaring Fork exhibit at AAM |

Superstition: Young curators of the Roaring Fork exhibit at AAM

WIllow Stolley, a sophomore at Glenwood Springs High School, carefully packs away her artwork for the upcoming Aspen Arts Museum Young Curators Exhibition, which opens Saturday in Aspen. Stolley, along with 14 other local high school art students, were selected for the annual show.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent


What: 2019 Young Curators of the Roaring Fork (YCRF) exhibition, “Superstition”

When: 3–5 p.m., opening reception

Where: Aspen Art Museum, 637 E Hyman Ave., Aspen

Cost: Free

Dating back to 2005, the Aspen Art Museum has been engaging young artists with the annual Young Curators of the Roaring Fork exhibition held every spring.

For Glenwood Springs High School art instructor Tish McFee, it has been a fixture for most of her career.

“When the program started I was working at Basalt. I’ve always been a really big fan, so when I came to here (GSHS) I continued to be involved with it,” McFee said.

“The Aspen Arts Museum is so generous to do this program. The curator program itself gives that opportunity for kids to learn how to be a curator, and do a job in the arts other then being an artist that is lucrative.”

“I’m really excited to see how people react to everyone’s superstitions, because every one has different things that go on in their own minds.” — Student curator Annika Bucchin, GSHS

Local art students are selected for the six-month program to build aesthetic valuation, leadership, organizational and critical-thinking skills.

Encompassing high school students from Aspen to Rifle, the program lets the inspiring young curators explore the museum’s many departmental roles and professional opportunities through working with staff, as well as visiting lecturers.

According to the Aspen Arts Museum, its prolonged commitment to school-based educational programs like the YCRF is one aspect of the museum’s overall mission to provide expansive, important and innovative contemporary art-based programming and an art-rich environment that fosters both lifelong appreciation and understanding of the visual arts through exhibitions and education.

lead roles for glenwood

Every year, McFee encourages and recommends her art students to apply for the young curator program. This year, she recommended second-year art student Annika Bucchin.

Bucchin, a sophomore at GSHS who has enjoyed art throughout her young life, was excited for the opportunity.

“I’ve been creating art for two years, but my mom and I have been visiting art museums all over the place,” Bucchin said.

“I’ve always seen art, and I’ve always been one with art. I’m hoping that I can go to a school where I can learn about art curation and art history and hopefully follow through with that path.”

After a two-week process, Bucchin said she was selected with 11 other students from the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond for the internship. They meet every Tuesday at AAM after school.

Bucchin said they first had to pick a theme. The constant was what happens after high school and beyond.

They chose the theme of “Superstition,” which began with an investigation into the realm of magical thinking, posing the question: “Four-leaf clovers, broken mirrors, and black cats … What happens when we believe we can influence things that are outside of our control?”

The next step was inviting high school artists from the area to respond to the notion based on their own beliefs — personal, universal or historical — and through the artistic medium of their choosing.

Bucchin said they juried every piece of work submitted, first through pictures of the work, and later in person. Each curator reviews a different school, other than their own school, looking at each work’s value, standard and how it fits with the show’s theme.

“It has been a great experience. I’ve learned so much about art and how to evaluate and analyze it,” Bucchin said. “It’s such an honor to be part of the program.”

This year’s student-driven exhibition features works selected by the YCRF out of 50 submitted, by high school-age artists from Aspen, Roaring Fork Re-1 and Garfield Re-2 school districts.

The YCRF selected 15 pieces for the 2019 exhibition that will open Saturday, with a reception from 3-5 p.m., at the Aspen Art Museum.

fitting the theme

Half of the pieces selected were from art students at Glenwood Springs High School, including sophomores Julia Curry and Willow Stolley.

“I’m really excited to be showcased with other artists my age, and meet new people,” Curry said.

Curry has been interested in art since she was little and hopes to be a professional artist one day.

In her artwork titled “Bad Grrrl,” Curry used a combination of graphite and acrylic on paper.

“With the theme ‘superstition,’ I wanted to do something with a black cat, giving the women and the cat similarities,” Curry said.

“I wanted to show how society paints a lot of women as evil for being different like the black cat, even though there is nothing inherently bad about it, but because of superstitions people are afraid of them.”

For Stolley, a self-described non-artist who said she likes to draw to relieve stress and uses art to express herself, the YCRF’s call for artists piqued her interest.

“My baby sister, who is 2 months old, was born during the blood moon, and when I heard the call I immediately knew what I wanted to do,” Stolley said.

She was elated when she found out her watercolor on paper, titled “Moon,” was selected.

“I’m excited to see my art there. I used to visit the museum all the time with my family,” Stolley added. “It will be interesting to see my own work displayed.”

The afternoon opening will also include a special reading of the short play iZach! — by a winner of AAM fellow nonprofit Aspen’s Theater Masters’ Aspiring 2019 Playwrights Competition. Superstition will remain on view through April 28.

“I’m really excited to see how people react to everyone’s superstitions, because every one has different things that go on in their own minds,” Bucchin added.

“I think it’s going to be really special to see how parents and friends value their own mind space, and how they can connect together on superstitions that weren’t talked about before.”

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